Getting my grubby mitts on a set of Blind Beggar’s uniformed female militia got me thinking… I was originally going to paint them up as a women’s BUF unit, but in the end decided to go for one of the smaller right-wing units – the British Fascisti.
The British Fascisti was formed in 1923 by Rotha Lintorn-Orman: an upper middle-class daughter of an army major who served in the Women's Reserve Ambulance and Scottish Women's Hospital Corps during the Great War and gained a penchant for dressing in male uniform.
Like many of her class she was virulently anti-communist, royalist, patriotic and pro-empire. Alarmed by the rise of the left she sought out others with similar beliefs to form the British Fascisti – it’s name inspired by Mussolini’s movement. However Lintorn-Orman’s group was originally more a royalist organisation, as opposed to an explicitly fascist one, leading extreme right-winger Arnold Leese to label it ‘conservatism with knobs on.’
Composed of largely of minor aristocracy, obscure politicians and disgruntled ex-army officers, the group suffered from numerous splits, especially after the general strike, when the anticipated socialist revolution that would allow the BF to spring forward and save the day never materialised. Soon it was eclipsed by larger fascist groups. Riven by factionalism, the group dissolved in 1934, with Lintorn-Orman, dependant on alcohol and drugs, dying in 1935 amid rumours of hedonistic parties.
In the VBCW universe, the British Fascisti is reborn as war breaks out by Lintorn-Orman’s fictional equivalent, Emma Picton-Bryant, who returns from a Swiss alcohol addiction clinic to reform the group. Soon cadres of British Fascisti militias are operating – sometimes as an adjunct to the BUF, sometimes as rivals.
The minis, from Mason's Blind Beggar line, are painted in a rough approximation of Picton-Bryant's uniform, as shown in the Solway sourcebook (minus armbands - I couldn't face painting lots of tiny F's, plus it makes them faction-neutral enough to use in other forces if need be).
|(A test piece in BUF uniform - based with a spare bike to act as a messenger/runner)|